Just over a year ago, the British people elected a Conservative majority Government for the first time since 1992. We made clear commitments to people in the Forest of Dean in our manifesto, and have been delivering on them since day one.
Just last month, we delivered the first phase of the tax cuts that we promised at the election. The personal allowance has, as promised, been raised to £11,000, giving about 45,000 people in the Forest a tax cut and taking nearly 1,000 out of tax altogether. We promised to freeze fuel duty and delivered on that promise too, with fuel prices now 18 pence per litre lower than they would have been under Labour – worth £10 to the average motorist each time they fill their car up.
The halving of the Severn Bridge Crossing toll, coming into effect in spring 2018, delivers on our commitment to the hardworking families who rely on the bridges on a day to day basis. We are also undertaking a consultation into ‘free-flow tolling’, which will mean that not only are the tolls cheaper, but they will also be quicker and easier to use.
We committed to increase the State Pension, and have delivered. Through the Triple Lock, the State Pension is now £1,100 per year higher than it was in 2010. The new system is both simpler and fairer, and alongside the retention of winter fuel payments, this will provide for pensioners who have worked hard all their life and deserve dignity in retirement.
We have also, of course, delivered on our promise of a referendum on our membership of the European Union. Our Prime Minister, David Cameron, made a commitment to the British people to give them the final decision after he had negotiated a better deal for the UK. Having done so, it will be up to the British people, not the Prime Minister, or me, or any politician, to decide this matter and the future of our relationship with the EU.
There is still more to do. I will continue to work hard to deliver on our commitments to give people the security and opportunity they deserve, at every stage of their life.